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The third day of the Colorado preliminary hearing for Barry Morphew, charged with murdering his missing wife Suzanne Morphew, revealed photos showing his hands and arms visibly injured in the days following her May 2020 disappearance.
Empty tranquilizer darts were also found in the garage of the home and inside a dryer, where investigators discovered the couple’s daughter’s sheets, which had been stripped from the bed in her room. Suzanne’s ID and her medical card, which she would have needed for a cancer appointment the day after she went missing, also were found inside her SUV still parked in the driveway, testimony on Monday revealed.
Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Andy Rohrich testified Monday that Barry Morphew’s upper left arm looked as if it had fingernail injuries. In the photos taken by investigators soon after Suzanne’s disappearance on Mother’s Day that year, there are three abrasions or cuts scabbing over, Rohrich said, Fox 21 reported. Outside of his hands were injuries in various stages of healing.
Body camera footage played inside the Chaffee County Courthouse Monday showed Barry Morphew being escorted into the home briefly after his wife’s disappearance and identifying Suzanne’s black bicycle shorts seen in a Ziploc bag. That was the only time he was allowed into the home after his wife was reported missing, and he was only inside for three minutes before deputies escorted him out.
Rohrich noted how Barry was not looking around in the home. Video showed he wasn’t trying to call his wife’s phone, and despite being the last place he supposedly saw Suzanne alive and sleeping when he left that morning, he did not examine the bed or attempt to ask any questions.
Investigators were told to find three books that Suzanne Morphew would have kept together in the home. They found a Bible, an Alcoholics Anonymous book – but no journal. In the fireplace, investigators described pieces of material that could have been a journal burned.
Rohrich noted that the door frame of the master bedroom looked like there had been a forced entry from outside of the room. He also found a .22 caliber unspent shell on Suzanne’s side of the bed.
Photos of Suzanne’s Range Rover showed that her purse remained inside, and contained her medical card, driver’s license, credit cards and cash. Rohrich noted that Suzanne would need an ID to travel elsewhere in the country by plane or out of the country – and she would have needed her medical card for a scheduled cancer treatment appointment the day after she went missing.
Agent Derek Graham, with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, testified Monday that one box of syringes was found inside the safe in the garage, as well as several darts. A spy pen was found in the master bedroom closet inside a box of bras, Graham said.
A tranquilizer needle sheath was also later found in the dryer inside the home where sheets from a bed belonging to their daughter, Mallory, were found. Photos showed that the bed’s comforter had also been stripped off.
Barry Morphew allegedly told investigators he would use a tranquilizer gun to shoot chipmunks and deer around the home. He also has inquired about buying hot tub chemicals at a business called Salida Stove and Spa days before his wife’s disappearance.
As previously discovered in testimony, Suzanne had sent Barry a text message days before her disappearance saying, “I’m done.”
Taking the stand again Monday, former FBI agent Jonathan Grusing pointed to a six-hour time period between May 9 and 10, 2020, when Barry Morphew would have had time to dispose of a body. He would have had a three-hour round trip to get back to the home, Grusing said.
Surveillance footage showed him making several “trash runs” at various locations along the highway.
Besides being charged with killing his wife around May 10, 2020, which was Mother’s Day, Barry Morphew is also accused of submitting a fraudulent vote on his wife’s behalf for then-President Donald Trump in November’s election.
Morphew is charged with tampering with his wife’s deceased body around the time she was killed as well as with evidence in the case from last May through early March, about two months before he was arrested. He is also charged with illegally possessing a short rifle and using deceit to influence law enforcement officers from the time his wife disappeared until he was arrested.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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